¡Hello! This week we will be releasing more posts to make it up to you for not having been present in the previous weeks.

The theme for this week (and most likely for more weeks to come) will be exploratory testing, that is a subject I very much enjoy, so I am looking forward to writing a lot about it, as well as having your feedback and opinions.

I’d like to start our journey sharing a definition, which has been extracted from “The Permanent Book of Exploration” by John Keay and it goes like this:

“So, to qualify as exploration a journey had to be credible, had to involve hardship and risk, and had to include the novelty of discovery. Thereafter, like cricket it was somewhat hard to explain to the uninitiated. But one element was absolutely vital; indeed it was precisely that which distinguished the age of exploration from previous ages of discovery and which necessitated the adoption of the word ‘exploration’. It was, quite simply, a reverence for science.”

ET

Little did I know (to say the least) about this approach when I first started working and learning about testing a few years ago now. However, as time passed by, and more knowledge unfolded on the matter, this approach started drawing my attention. You see, as the previous definition puts it, there’s an emphasis on discovery through exploring unknown territory, and that demanded skill, courage, curiosity, a constant willingness to learn, quickly adapt and improvise, as well as revise your map and re-plan, should your original ideas you set out on your journey be mistaken.

And so, as I dug deeper on the matter, it dawn on me that though the idea after exploratory testing looks as though it were simple (notice I said simple, I did not say it was easy), it actually has a degree of complexity that made it (and still makes it) challenging because it would require working on skills, sharpening already existing ones, and more importantly, developing new ones.

To better stress the previous ideas, I’ll share a definition of Exploratory Testing by Cem Kaner, who happens to be the person that coined the term back in 1983, and it goes like this:

“Exploratory software testing is a style of software testing that emphasizes the personal freedom and responsibility of the individual tester to continually optimize the value of her work by treating test-related learning, test design, test execution, and test result interpretation as mutually supportive activities that run in parallel throughout the project.”

Kaner’s definition is very helpful in clearing out a widespread misconception I’ve heard either from junior testers, or from more senior people, and that is:

  • “Exploratory Testing is a technique”, but in reality,
  • It is an approach.

You may be wondering, “what’s the difference? I am not following why this definition is help clearing anything out”. Simple:

From my point of view and understanding, his definition:

  • Empowers a tester by
    • Emphasising our personal freedom, as well as,
    • Our responsibility as testers to make make decisions, even though we may and we will make mistakes. However, those decisions will ultimately drive results that will later be given to, and used by stakeholders who matter in the project, so they can make informed decisions upon the test item.

Let’s use some definitions from an online dictionary, that will help us a little bit more.

A technique is:

  1. a way of doing something by using special knowledge or skill;
  2. the way that a person performs basic physical movements or skills.

Simply put: A technique is something that someone does.

An approach is:

  1. to move or become near or nearer to something or someone;
  2. to move or become near or nearer in time to something;
  3. to get close to (an amount or level).

Simply put: A way in which someone does something while pursuing an objective.

All in all, in the white belt we wanted to start introducing the subject. Nonetheless, fear not!! Because we will be going deeper into it in more posts, and there’s plenty to talk about and discuss. We sure have plenty to learn from.

What should you expect in the following posts? Well, a sneak peak, “Why should I do Exploratory Testing? Do you think you can convince me?! Try it!” To that, I say only two words… “Challenge… accepted! :)”